By Neil Clark
The only surprising thing about Donald Trump’s recent U-turn on Afghanistan is that anyone should be surprised by it.
Elected to the Oval Office as a harsh critic of US involvement in costly Middle Eastern conflicts by a war-weary public, The Donald has turned out be just as much of a war president as those who went before. He’s ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian government airfield and dropped the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on Afghanistan. That’s in addition to threatening North Korea and Venezuela and escalating US involvement in the bombing of cholera-stricken Yemen.
The millions of Americans who voted for Trump, hoping he’d be the president to bring the troops back home, have been cruelly disappointed and are certainly feeling betrayed. They shouldn’t be at all shocked, however, as American political history shows us a clear pattern.
The sad, inescapable truth is that it doesn’t matter who gets elected as president and what they say on the election trail; the policies on the issues that matter remain the same after the inauguration. What the last eight months have proven, to anyone who still had any doubts, is that the US is not a ‘democracy’ that changes course according to the public will, but a full-blown regime, governed by the Wall Street/CIA/Endless War Party which never loses power regardless of how people vote.
Even if the ‘wrong’ candidate somehow gets elected, as Trump did last fall, the Wall Street/CIA/Endless War Party, working in tandem with their close allies embedded in the US mainstream media, still have plenty of tools at its disposal for making sure there‘s no significant departure from regressive policies that enrich the elite, but leave everyone else worse off.
We’re encouraged to see Trump as the big problem (if only he’d go away everything would be alright again!), but in fact, The Donald is only the latest POTUS to ‘revert to the mean’ when in office. We tend to forget that back in 2000 a certain George W. Bush was hailed as ‘The president who wouldn’t meddle’ after years of Clintonian interventionism. What happened? Dubya meddled more – and even more disastrously than Bill Clinton.
In 2008, Obama was the president who would break with the neocons after the Bush era. He would ‘Stop the War’ and reset relations with Russia. He was even awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. But guess what? He followed exactly the same policies of regime change and interventionism.
Going back 25 years many progressives believed the election of Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, the boy from the ‘wrong side’ of the railroad tracks, would mark an end to the greed-fueled excesses of the Reagan/Bush I years.
But Bill only deregulated further and the super-rich got even richer. While Clinton did Wall Street’s bidding at home, he also did it abroad, targeting Yugoslavia, with its socially-owned economy, for destruction with a bogus ‘humanitarian’ bombing campaign. Practically the same thing was replicated by Obama and his NATO allies against Libya exactly twelve years later.
The striking thing about American politics over recent decades has been its continuity. The wars against resource-rich independent states in strategically important parts of the world have carried on, regardless of who’s been in the White House. The 1 percent continue to get richer, and the poor poorer, whether we have a boo-hiss nasty Republican or a nice ’progressive’ Democrat in the Oval Office. Every incoming president pledges to do something about inequality and to improve the lot of the middle class, and everyone fails.
Despite this, people still talk about ‘the US administration’ or obsess about individual presidents as if they matter. By playing the ‘Democrats are better than Republicans’/‘Republicans are better than Democrats’ game we only help to keep the charade going. This is also true if we indulge in ’If only x, y or z had won the nomination or presidential election’ hypotheticals.
Do we believe President Gore would have been able to resist The Regime’s push for war with Iraq, post 9-11? Or that President Dole would have worked out better for ordinary Americans than President Bill Clinton?
The last eight months have provided us with a valuable insight into how the US regime operates.
Trump was opposed by the Wall St/CIA/Endless War Party not because of concerns about racism or sexism (that’s what they wanted us to think), but because of his criticism of an interventionist foreign policy, and his expressed desire for a rapprochement with Russia. The Regime needs to promote the myth that Russia is a ’threat’ in order to sell the latest military hardware to European states – and give NATO a reason for its continued existence.
Additionally, the WallSt/CIA/Endless War Party is keen to punish Russia for blocking their plans for regime change in Syria and for standing in the way of their plans for total global hegemony.
A fact-free ‘Russiagate’ smear was peddled to derail Trump’s election bid. Then, when he was elected, over The Regime’s favored candidate, the proven Wall Street-friendly warmonger Hillary Clinton, the smear campaign went into overdrive.
The aim was to threaten the new president with impeachment, to get him to tow the line on foreign policy.
It was revealing that as soon as he bombed Syrian government forces in April, Trump began to receive establishment praise.
The Donald would obviously have noted that and realized that if he wanted to ease the pressure on himself, he had to do more bombing and threaten more countries. Previous presidents have reached the same conclusion.
The American mainstream media plays an absolutely crucial role in helping The Regime maintain its grip on power.
‘Experts’ from neocon military-industrial complex sponsored ‘think-tanks’ dominate television debates while antiwar voices are deliberately excluded. Pro-war pundits scare their readers with stories of the ’threat’ posed to national security by the latest official enemy. In 2002/3 it was Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMDs, in the last few years, it’s been the ‘threat‘ from Russia. Note how these pundits, even when their articles are revealed to have been total hogwash, keep their columns. Those who call them out for always being ‘wrong’ are missing the point: being ‘wrong’ – and promulgating WallSt/CIA/Endless War Party fake news is actually a key part of their job.
Any public figures who threaten The Regime, either from the anti-imperialist left, or the isolationist/libertarian right, are subject to relentless smear campaigns, which usually leads to them being branded a ‘conspiracy theorist’, a ‘denier’ of this that or the other and/or an ‘agent’ of the ‘official enemy‘. The irony is that those doing the smearing are, given past history, likely to be agents themselves.
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Carl Bernstein revealed in 1977 that over 400 American journalists had ‘secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.’ ‘Within the CIA, journalist-operatives were accorded elite status, a consequence of the common experience journalists shared with high-level CIA officials. Many had gone to the same schools as their CIA handlers, moved in the same circles, shared fashionably liberal, anti-Communist political values, and were part of the same “old boy” network that constituted something of an establishment elite in the media, politics, and academia of postwar America‘ Bernstein wrote.
That was in the old Cold War; it’s inconceivable- I think you’ll agree, that the CIA ( and allied intelligence services) don’t have’ journalists’ working for them in the new Cold War of today.
All things considered, The Regime must look back at the first eight months of 2017 with great satisfaction. A president who could have been a problem has been neutered. The coup de grace was the War Party’s representatives in Congress coming together to promote a bill imposing even tougher sanctions on Russia (and Iran)- and curtailing the president’s ability to lift the sanctions.
If Trump refused to sign it, then it would be taken as proof that he was indeed a ‘Russian agent‘ and had to be impeached. If he caved in, then it was game, set and match to The Regime.
Not only has Trump been brought into line on Russia, he’s also accepted a McCarthyite purging of White House staff/advisors who rejected or opposed the War Party’s hostile stance toward Moscow. One by one, these people have been replaced by those acceptable to The Regime.
It’s tempting- when looking at how Trump has buckled, to say ‘If only Bernie had won’, but that would be falling into the trap of thinking that individual politicians can make a difference against the machine set against them. That doesn’t mean though that genuine Democrats should give up on attempts to challenge the status quo.
Instead of focusing obsessively on Trump, we need to be turning our attention to where the power really lies in America. Today Americans are marching over historical statues, which suits the WallSt/CIA/Endless War Party just fine. The sort of protests which would really worry them would be marches demanding the president keeps good the pledges he made on foreign policy before his election, and calls for people to boycott the entire political system as it currently stands. That would really put the big cat among the hawks as it would show to The Regime and its operatives that they’ve been rumbled. However, at the moment ‘progressives’ are doing exactly what the people behind the curtain want them to do, namely regurgitate War Party smears about Trump being a ’tool of the Kremlin’ and indulge in futile establishment-encouraged ‘left-right’ culture wars, which don‘t harm the ruling oligarchy, and won’t stop the next ‘real’ war against the latest target state.
Everything is done to try and prevent us from noticing and reflecting on the killer fact that US policies remain the same regardless of who is in the White House. The WallSt/CIA/Endless War Party has engineered illegal ‘regime change’ operations around the world. But for the good of the world, and the majority of ordinary American citizens, the most pressing need for a regime change is in the US itself.